By: Kayla Mortellaro
The first playoff event on the PGA tour concluded Sunday with Hunter Mahan walking off the 18th green as the champion of the Barclays.
Mahan hasn’t won on the PGA tour since the Shell Houston Open in 2012 nor been in contention often after he famously flew home to witness the birth of his first child after the 36 hole lead at the RBC Canadian Open in 2013.
Many golf analysts have long been waiting for Mahan to have a break-out tournament that catapults his career to reflect the talent he has as one of the most efficient ball-strikers in the game.
With his Barclays victory, he jumps into the number one spot on the Fed Ex Cup points list that would result in a $10 million prize if he can stay there at the conclusion of the Tour Championship.
He also now puts himself in the discussion to be a likely captain’s pick by Tom Watson for the Ryder Cup in September. With the USA’s squad decimated by injured players and many players jockeying for Watson’s attention; it was important for someone to break-away.
Mahan may have done enough to captivate Watson’s attention and prove he is worthy of that pick by winning on a big stage, against some of the best players and showing a game that is peaking at the right time.
His statistics for the week include 66.7 percent of fairways hit, 79.6 percent of greens hit and most impressively averaging 1.7 putts per green in regulation hit.
Mahan’s consistency and ball-striking would be a welcomed addition to Watson’s squad that will compete against Europe in Scotland at Glen Eagles. He provides a ball in play for an alternate shot format as well as has an impressive individual match-play record. He captured a WGC Match Play Championship title in 2012 and reached the finals in 2013.
Mahan has the intangibles to be a great player on the PGA tour. His Barclays victory might just be that break-out performance he’s been searching for to propel him into the elite status and give him the opportunity he has long awaited- to represent the USA.